Widgets are easy-to-use program elements that are integrated into a particular window system. The term “widget” is a coined term composed of the words “window” and “gadget.” On websites, widgets are often used in the form of small JavaScripts or iFrames to provide additional functionalities for users without having to reprogram the entire CMS.


The idea and implementation of widgets originated from an IT project called Athena, developed jointly by IBM, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Digital Equipment Corporation. Originally, it was an object that only worked when linked to a window of a computer program. This widget was to respond to keystrokes or mouse commands independently and customize its appearance. In the course of the increasing importance of the Internet, the widget received new attention.

Where are widgets used?[edit]

Widgets require a widget engine on a computer, in order to be fully functional. Such an engine nowadays provides most graphical user interfaces. An example of widgets is the new Windows 8 interface in “tile design.”

Widgets are used in a variety of ways on the Internet. Especially in the area of ​​Content Syndication, widgets help to dynamically provide additional content on your website. Widgets are usually nothing more than small code snippets with a JavaScript as Flash code or an iFrame. Examples of widgets on the Internet are, for example, the Facebook Like box or widgets on YouTube or Flickr. Widgets are particularly popular with users of CMSs such as WordPress or Joomla.

Widget vs. Plug-in vs. Apps[edit]

The boundaries between the terms widget, Plug-In, or applet are blurred when used in everyday situations. However, these terms can be separated.

  • Widget: small window with full function that is embedded on a website or in an operating system.
  • Plug-ins: are extensions to a basic software and get “attached” to it with an API.
  • Apps: are originally standalone small programs for the Apple iPhone. Today, this term is being generally used for stand-alone programs on smartphones.

Widgets on smartphones[edit]

Widgets also occur on smartphones, especially with devices with the Android or WindowsPhone operating systems.

Widgets as part of an SEO strategy[edit]

Widgets have become very popular in SEO and online marketing because of their simple programming and easy distribution. Websites can increase their reach and Traffic with widgets. Widgets can also attract additional attention for social media marketing.

RSS Feeds are common widgets that are provided by a news page. These feeds are integrated by interested websites and provide traffic. At the same time, these websites can also provide additional Backlinks to the source of the information.

Info websites on current weather condition offer weather widgets, which are particularly attractive for publishers of all kinds, because they provide added user value.

It should be noted that widgets can be easily integrated from other websites and optical adjustments can be made as accurately as possible.[1]


  1. Widget Marketing Slideshare. Accessed on 11/28/2014